2012 – oil on canvas, 150×200 cm / 59×79 in
“Citius, Altius, Fortius” (Faster, Higher, Stronger) is the Motto of the Olympic Games.
It was De Coubertin’s, the founder of modern Olympics, belief that everybody should compete against themselves, not for money or other rewards, but for the satisfaction of giving one’s best in fair and peaceful competition.
The Olympics are still today a shining example of this spirit, but inevitably get more and more entangled with the hunger of money devouring our society, where an individual is not considered anymore for his human values and his creativity, but for what he has and how much he makes. Today the Olympic Motto could quite well be confused as a description of the bonus system in finance and industry.
When I created my Olympic Spirit no material consideration crossed my mind. My sole aim was to portray, in this sculpture, the benefits of peaceful and fair competition through cooperation. The fact that thousands of athletes from all countries and continents come together in the Olympic Village and live side by side for several weeks is, in my belief, an all-important aspect of the Games. I therefore imagined from the beginning only one adequate location for this sculpture: the Olympic Village of the London 2012 Olympics.
But there is another important aspect: I strongly believe that our exaggerated individualism and egoism has led us into a dead end. We have to realize that we all are residents of the same global village, that we depend on each other and have to cooperate with each other. The three athletes of my Olympic Spirit can only remain upright, in their precarious balance, if they trust and support each other. They climb high and fast with a happy mind and in harmonious cooperation.
Why can’t this work in the same way for everybody? Not everybody can compete in the Olympic Games. But why not measure the happiness of people and nations through something like the Happy Planet Index, which allows us to measure success in other than monetary terms, just like the Olympic medals?
The three athletes of my Olympic Spirit are protected from evil by the Eye of Horus, with the London Games in its center. They have trained relentlessly to show their prowess and portray the best of themselves to the world. They are happy to have achieved their goal and to participate in the greatest games on earth. May my Spirit inspire many others to believe that, yes, they can do it as well.